La Mola lighthouse and museum
The Lighthouse of La Mola since 1861 illuminating the nights and the sea of Formentera. Since 2019, it is also an interpretation center, museum and exhibition room..
La Mola Lighthouse
✅ Built in the second half of the 19th century.
✅ Located at the east end cliffs of Formentera.
✅ Since 2019 it hosts a museum and interpretation center.
La Mola Lighthouse: History
The project of the then called Lighthouse of Formentera was the work of the engineer Emili Pou i Bonet in 1859. The works began in 1860 and lasted until 1861, the year in which it was officially inaugurated on November 30 at 4:00 p.m. 22 h
For the population of Formentera, the construction of that 2nd order lighthouse was a historical event since, a work of such investment and budget, had never been seen on the island before. An investment that did not really favor Formentera or its inhabitants but to the deep draft vessels that navigate the waters south of the island.
The lighthouse is located about 2 kilometers away from the town of Pilar de La Mola.
Julius Verne and the Formentera lighthouse
Although a monolith and a plaque recall the figure of Jules Verne in the vicinity of the La Mola lighthouse, the truth is that the writer was never on the island despite the fact that his work, Hector Servadac, takes place partly in Formentera and more specifically in its, then, only lighthouse.
The reason why the Formentera lighthouse appears in the 1887 novel is because the French writer was inspired by the chronicles of the French astronomers Françoise Arago and Jean-Baptiste Biot who between 1807 and 1808 installed an astronomical observatory in Sa Talaiassa, the highest point of La Mola and therefore the highest point in Formentera.
La Mola lighthouse: Technical details over time
As time and technology progressed, so have the components of the La Mola lighthouse luminaire, going from using vegetable oil and a Degrand lens in its beginnings in 1861, to being connected to the electrical network, use halogen lamps and be fully automated in operation from 2002.
Said changes, among many other things, implied that from a moment in time, the operation of the La Mola lighthouse or Formentera lighthouse did not need the figure of the lighthouse keeper.
La Mola lighthouse: Life at the lighthouse
The lighthouses at the time housed, in addition to the technological components for the safe navigation of the ships, the homes of the lighthouse keepers and their families.
Groups of 3 families who had to live together in a limited space, in an isolated environment and in undoubtedly difficult conditions.
Coexistence conflicts between the inhabitants of the La Mola lighthouse were frequent and, as a result, as of 1908 the construction was divided into rooms and with spaces of restricted use for each of the families that inhabited them.
Of course, sharing common spaces such as the kitchen, the warehouse and the laundry room.
Story of a lighthouse keeper
The anecdotes of another time when Formentera was an island that had little to do with the island that we know today.
Stories such as that of Vicent Mayans Mayans who came to work at the lighthouse in 1949 and was in it for 13 years.
La Mola lighthouse: His last lighthouse keeper
Since the start-up of the lighthouse, it is estimated that some 90 families have been living as lighthouse keepers in the Formentera lighthouse.
We do not know who should have been the first of them but we do know that Javier Pérez de Arévalo was the last of them with his wife Kola Seoane and they left the lighthouse in 2001
Reading Javier’s story, I think he was the perfect last lighthouse keeper in La Mola.
The Formentera´s lighthouse
As a result of the disappearance of the figure of the lighthouse keeper, the building of the La Mola lighthouse suffered a continuous deterioration and before the evident end of the same, the Consell Insular de Formentera and the Authority of Ports of the Balearic Islands reached an agreement to restore it , which would house a space dedicated to culture.
And, after many years of long waiting, the moment that everyone in Formentera was waiting for has arrived.
In February 2019, the event of great emotional charge took place for the residents of the island, and it was being able to access the interior of the lighthouse building to see how the restoration work had been in an open space.
Some of us vaguely remembered having accessed, as children, that imposing vaulted interior space, others kept memories of their families living within those walls, for many others it was the first time they entered the lighthouse, but I think for each and everyone it was a day of great joy and excitement for us.
The excitement of recovering for the island the enjoyment of a very important part of our history as an island.
La Mola Lighthouse Museum and Interpretation Center
In July 2019, the La Mola lighthouse opens to the public and visitors and residents can access it during public opening hours.
Access is not free and you have to pay a ticket for it.
The interior houses information on the history of the lighthouse, the interpretation of the maritime signals, an exhibition room and awe-inspiring views of the cliff behind the safety of the railing.
Of course, access to the headlight is not allowed for security reasons.
In any case, a highly recommended visit.
You can see many picture of Formentera´s lighthouse in our Instagram profile.